A world of opportunity

Sam Gallecher started an apprenticeship in Project Management at Cox Automotive in 2014. Now fully qualified, his job has taken him to Australia.

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Why an apprenticeship?

I was thinking of going to uni, but I just didn’t know if it was right for me. I enjoyed college, and I got the right qualifications but when results day came I wasn’t sure about signing up for another three years of study, so I deferred my place.

I started looking into apprenticeships, and it seemed like the best of both worlds, I could earn some money, study for a qualification and gain loads of great work experience all at the same time.

What made you choose project management?

I didn’t start out wanting to be a Project Manager, I looked at loads of different opportunities. When I saw this one advertised I read up on it and it seemed like something I’d be good at, so I applied.

There was a workshop style interview where I found out loads more about the role. Everyone seemed really friendly and supportive, so it was a no-brainer when I got the call offering me the job.

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What’s the best thing about your apprenticeship?

It’s been great to get straight into real work, I’ve learnt a lot and had loads of support along the way. At Cox Automotive I shadowed a Project Manager from the start, and there was always someone there to answer my questions and offer advice.

Any downsides?

When I first started I think some people thought that an apprentice was just here to do basic tasks, but for me that really gave me more motivation to prove myself and earn my stripes.

What’s been your best work moment?

I led a project to roll out a new auction bidding system across the international business, which meant I got to travel to Australia.

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I spent just under three weeks there, visiting Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney. I loved meeting my Aussie colleagues and seeing the differences in the way they work compared to the UK.

Even though I was working I got a bit of time to see the sights – It was an amazing experience and something I could never have imagined when I applied for the apprenticeship.

What’s next for you?

Even though I’ve finished my apprenticeship I still get loads of support and training from my team, so I’m learning all the time.

I’ve definitely found my career, and I just want to keep progressing. At the moment my job title is Junior Project Manager, so the next step is to get rid of the ‘Junior’.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of doing an apprenticeship?

Take the time to look around, there are lots of apprenticeships out there. Ask loads of questions so you really understand what you’ll be doing, and  how you’ll be supported. The thing that made my apprenticeship a success was the support I got from my mentor.